If you regularly watch the Fox News Network, you might be familiar with longtime contributor Father Johnathan Morris, who is a Catholic priest and 14-year religious commentator for the network. However, Morris announced on Monday that he will be leaving the priesthood after 25 years serving the Catholic church.
— Jonathan Morris (@JonMorris2019) June 10, 2019
Morris appeared on Martha McCallum’s “The Story” in a suit and tie, versus his normal clerical collar.
“I believe I am doing what God is asking of me,” Morris said. “As hard as this decision was, I’m doing exactly what I think I should be doing. I’m following my heart.”
Morris, 46, entered the seminary at the age of 21 and has been in religious ministry ever since. McCallum, who appeared to have trouble remembering not to address Morris as “father,” asked some “tough questions” of Morris, including whether he believed this his parishioners would think that he was abandoning them.
“You took a vow,” McCallum said.
“I felt emotionally trapped,” Morris said. “I said I cannot leave because I don’t want to let people down. I stayed in even though I knew deep down that this was not what’s for me.”
When asked by McCallum if he had ever broken his vow of priesthood, Morris thanked her for both her friendship and her excellence in journalism before answering candidly that he had broken it after he joined seminary but before becoming a priest.
While he was clear that it was “nothing illegal” just something that he was not allowed under his oath as a priest, he did admit it to his superiors and asked to leave, but his superiors responded by moving his ordination up by two years.
“I thank God for the past and I ask Him for grace for the future,” Morris said.
“Are you still Catholic?” McCallum asked.
“You better believe it,” Morris replied. “I believed. And I believe.”
In a statement published on Fox News, Morris said that, “Personally, I have no axe to grind. My faith in God and my love for my Church is stronger than ever. And, while there is something very appealing about the thought of disappearing from the public eye, this probably isn’t what God is asking of me long-term.”
Morris ended his statement by requesting prayer from his readers and a reiteration of his faith and the One who he leans on:
“As daunting as all of this change is, I am reminded often in prayer that the most important thing in my life has not changed,” Morris said. “As a friend recently wrote to me, “You’re still working for the same boss!”
“The same God who was by my side as a priest is by my side today and will be forever. This is my time to trust in Him like I have never had to do before.”